Ethereum Name Service Founder’s Revelation: Vitalik Buterin’s Fateful Grant Intervention

Nick Johnson, the founder of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), revealed in an exclusive interview with that he received double the amount of capital he asked for when he submitted figures to the Ethereum Foundation for a grant. ENS is a project that allows users to create human-readable Web3 addresses that can function as a wallet for cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as well as a domain for decentralized websites. Johnson, a software engineer from New Zealand, was initially intrigued by Bitcoin but was drawn to Ethereum for its programmability.

With a strong background in infrastructure, tooling, and libraries, Johnson was able to write his own Ethereum strings library, which is essential for manipulating text in programming. The Ethereum Foundation eventually hired him, and one of his first tasks was to address a naming gap in the infrastructure. This led to the development of the ENS, which initially started as a side project while Johnson was working on the EthSwarm team, a decentralized data storage and distribution technology.

The Ethereum Foundation saw the potential of the ENS and encouraged Johnson to work on it full-time by creating a separate organization funded by a grant. When Johnson drew up rough figures for a two-year roadmap, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recommended doubling the grant amount. Without Buterin’s intervention, Johnson believes the ENS would have failed. Since its launch, over two million ENS addresses have been registered.

While the number of registered ENS names is not the most crucial metric for Johnson, he is more interested in gauging how many users are using crypto addresses instead of DNS names in their wallets. This measurement is challenging. Johnson’s team focuses on expanding the ENS service to networks that can benefit from Web3 utility, ensuring that it reaches users where they are. They aim to roll out Ethereum layer-2 infrastructure in the future and make the service more user-friendly.

Nick Johnson’s Ethereum Name Service has seen significant success since its launch, with the Ethereum Foundation providing double the requested grant amount to support its development. The service aims to make Web3 addresses more user-friendly and accessible, with future plans to expand to different networks and improve usability.

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